How to Build a Pond

Today the most popular way to build a pond is to use either a pre-formed shape or a liner, concrete is more time consuming and can be very demanding, Dan Everton compares the merits of each method.

Created by Dan Everton on Wednesday, 11th of May, 2016.
Updated on Monday, 16th of May, 2016.

Pond Construction

With the advent of modern plastics, liner and pre-formed ponds have overtaken concrete as the preferred method for constructing ponds, each has its own merits and this comparison will enable you to make up your own mind.


Have a plan in mind of what you want to achieve and outline the desired shape with rope or sand. Then you can start digging.

Create shelves at different depths to accommodate various types of aquatic plants, perhaps very shallow at 2ins, then 5 inches and wide enough to hold containers, and 18 inches.  Overall depth should be at least 2 ft and 4 ft if you want to keep fish.

It might sound obvious but make sure that the liner you purchase is the correct size for the pond you are building. Measure the length, width and depth of the pond. Then, double the depth and add the length and width. Now add 2 feet for overlapping the pond edge. This will give you the correct size.

The hole must be level so use a spirit level balanced on a block of wood to check all around the sides. Remove any sharp stones or tree roots that may pierce the liner.

Now line the hole with a layer of sand or other material such as old carpet. If possible warm the liner in sunlight to make it more flexible and shape it into the hole, try to keep wrinkles to a minimum and add a little water to help settle it into place.     

Slowly fill with water making sure the liner doesn’t stretch. Trim off any excess liner above the water line and use mortar to fix patio stones or similar around the pond edge to keep the liner in place.


Place the pond (the correct side up, not upside down) where it is to be positioned and mark out by drawing around the shape in sand. Next measure the shelves. Then dig out the shape including the shelves but adding about 5cm to the depth to allow for a lining of sand.

Remove any stones or roots as they might pierce the liner. Then place the liner into the hole and adjust the shape if necessary, making sure it is level (use a spirit level balanced on a piece of wood across the width and length of the pond). Once you are satisfied the shape is correct, line the hole with the sand and return the pond and it should fit snugly.

When you are sure the pond is level, use sand to back fill and compact it to prevent the pond from moving as it is filled with water.
However carefully installed there’s always a chance of some movement, so once filled, leave the pond for at least one week before adding edging stones, plants or other features.


First the hole needs to be dug, about 6 inches below what will be the final depth, making sure that the levels, angles and sides are accurately measured - a formal pond needs to look exactly true.

Then dig a trench, about 4 inches deep by 8 inches across, around the sides at the base of the hole and fill this trench with concrete to provide foundations for the walls.   

With the bottom of the hole level, add a layer of sand, compact it firmly adjacent to the wall foundations, and lay 3 inches of concrete. Allow to dry, then add some galvanised mesh and pour another 3 inches of concrete on top.

Once the cement has dried use breeze blocks to form the walls, filing in any gaps and hollows with concrete.

After 48 hours, dampen the walls and skim the entire hole with a ½ inch layer of fibre reinforced cement. Next, use mortar to fix an edging of bricks and slabs, allowing for a 2 or 3 inch overhang. Paint the inside with a good quality waterproof sealant, when that is dry you can introduce water.  

Finally, bear in mind that for all types of pond, filters, lights and other features will need electrical and hose connections, so remember to allow space for these while adding any edging materials.

For information on how to introduce plants into your pond, read our blog 'How To Transform Your Pond With Plants'.

Follow these links to our range of pond liners and pre-formed ponds.

Related Articles

Reasons To Choose An Intalogs or Blagdon Raised Pond

Reasons To Choose An Intalogs or Blagdon Raised Pond

There's no doubt that building a pre-formed or liner pond involves a certain amount of hard work, so Nathan James Dodd thinks that a raised version from Intalogs or a Blagdon is well worth considering.

Author: Nathan James Dodd

Written by Nathan James Dodd.
Published on Thursday, 12th of May, 2016.

How To Transform Your Pond With Plants

How To Transform Your Pond With Plants

A pond is an essential part of the garden landscape, and plants transform their appearance as well as ensuring a healthy aquatic environment. Dan Everton, our Aquatics Supervisor, shares his thoughts on the best plants to use.

Author: Dan Everton

Written by Dan Everton.
Published on Wednesday, 11th of May, 2016.

May Pond Maintenance

May Pond Maintenance

With the weather warming up, May is a good time to introduce new life into your pond and complete any maintenance activities left over from the winter and spring. Dan Everton reviews the tasks that need to be undertaken this month.

Author: Dan Everton

Written by Dan Everton.
Published on Wednesday, 20th of April, 2016.

GardenSite Visits Oase Living Water In Germany

GardenSite Visits Oase Living Water In Germany

Oase is a company that is passionate about water, with a huge range of products that will soon include a brand new indoor aquarium range. That's why I recently went over to Germany with my colleague Andrew Hall to visit their headquarters.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Tuesday, 16th of February, 2016.

comments powered by Disqus


View RSS Feed


Dan Everton

Aquatics Supervisor & videographer

View Profile

Follow Us!

Recent Articles

Poinsettias Now Available From Our Garden Centre

Poinsettias Now Available From Our Garden Centre

With Christmas rapidly approaching, our New Oscott Garden Centre has just taken delivery of that most seasonal of plants – the Poinsettia. These are David Hall's tips on to how to keep these beautiful plants at their colourful best.

Author: David Hall

Written by David Hall.
Published on Thursday, 8th of December, 2016.

GardenSite Donates Christmas Tree To Hospice

GardenSite Donates Christmas Tree To Hospice

Our garden centre has been part of the local community for over 60 years, so when one of our partners, David Coton, received a request to donate a Christmas tree to a nearby hospice, he had no hesitation in helping them out.

Author: Robert Hall

Written by Robert Hall.
Published on Wednesday, 7th of December, 2016.

How To Choose A Real Christmas Tree

How To Choose A Real Christmas Tree

Many people believe that Christmas would not have the same festive feel without the scent of a 'real' Christmas tree. They're naturally fresh, giving off a lovely aroma, and here Martyn Loach gives advice on which ones to buy..

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Tuesday, 6th of December, 2016.

Premier Christmas Lights

Premier Christmas Lights

There's a huge selection of Premier Christmas Lights, and it's no wonder why they are market leaders judging by the variety and innovation that's on offer. This is Andy Taylor's guide to their range of top quality lights and decorations.

Author: Andrew Taylor

Written by Andrew Taylor.
Published on Monday, 28th of November, 2016.